Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This week's New Frugality: Savings and De-Clutter

I've been focusing on "frugality" for the past month. Not by not spending money, unfortunately, but by spending in a smarter way, trying to change my spending habits. The result: savings and de-cluttering.

Goals I accomplished this month:
  • Pay off two credit cards
  • Keep a record of monies saved and transfer that amount into savings account, week by week
The first goal was happily accomplished. Granted, I paid off the two smaller ones, using both monies saved from this summer's extra income and money owed me that finally arrived. This leaves me with two credit card accounts, one very large one and one not-so-large that got out of hand last spring. I plan to incorporate the $350 I was paying each month into the small accounts into the not-so-large one's payment--which means that by next March, it will be paid off completely. Then I can funnel all the payments into the largest one, and pay that off within the year. My overall goal: to eliminate the crdit card hangover debt that I have had for some time, paying dribs and drabs. Then that money can go into savings, partially for retirement and partially for emergencies.

The only downside here was that I used about half of my extra savings from the summer to pay these bills, together with the in-coming owed money. This means I will have to be more carefully budgeting through the fall to not use the rest of the savings too quickly.

The second goal was also achieved, happily. I had some lucky savings last month and I kept record of it. I dumped it all into my second, secret savings account. I keep record of my savings on a weekly basis, through savvy shopping, using coupons, and online eBates savings and Amazon sales; this is not earned money, but simply monies I save weekly by spending smart. My overall goal: save $1000, and use it to buy a new mattress and box spring. I am now $250.00 towards that goal.

Beyond that, this weekend I dropped off my October Goodwill donation: three super-size shopping bags plus extras. It included clothes, accessories and jewelry, kitchen items (including 7 kitchen towels), sheets, purses, house decor stuff, and a suitbag I hadn't used in ten years. Whew! I feel about 20 lbs lighter, which may be what the drop-off weighed. Plus, I came home and got a head start on November's dropoff with clothes, my big slow cooker, more purses (!), and videos. Photo'd each item for 2010 taxes.

I also have boxes and bags of books started for my December visit to a local used books place. I am accruing CDs, DVDs, videos, and books for that sale. This month, I sold $82 worth of same: 12 boxes and bags of old stuff. Happily, gone, gone gone with the wind!

Beyond that, I have started a consignment shop bag: the better used clothes, boots, and accessories (many actually never used) can be sold for cash, rather than donated. I also have vintage clothes I am thinking about taking to Buffalo Exchange here in town, which pays money or offers equal value exchange.

This week's goal: find a consignment shop in town to visit with these, better label clothes.

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